These facts are easily proven by editorial in late Victorian bicycling magazines and periodicals. The fact that the derisory ‘Penny Farthing’ name was taken up in the early 20th century is the reason the phrase has entered the modern vocabulary, and will, I have no doubt, continue to be used.
However, from a professional perspective, my belief is that factual history must prevail. Indeed, the same misnaming can be attributed to Longcase clocks: what self-respecting clock dealer would describe these as ‘Grandfather Clocks’? Possibly the name was adopted from a popular parlour song dating from 1876.
Contrary to the comments in the aforementioned letters, I have received several messages from professional institutions congratulating me on bringing the incorrect use of the ‘Penny Farthing’ term to the wider public.
Director, Transport Collector Auctions